EATING HABITS OF “EMPTY NESTERS”
When the youngest child heads to college, parents face a dramatic change in their dining rituals. Dinner time is no longer dictated by afterschool activity schedules. Meals are not cooked based on the needs and appetites of picky teens who are following fads or just plain starving after a high-energy sporting event. The first trip to the supermarket after the teens are gone may be shocking because of how few bags you leave with – and sentimental, because you don’t need to buy their favorite foods. Here are some tips to help make the transition from cooking for many to just one or two: • Plan meals in advance. You don’t need to restock provisions as often, so buy just what you need. • Purchase smaller sizes of staples like eggs, milk, meats and bread to prevent spoilage. If you find a great sale on “family-size” packs of meat and other perishables, divide it into smaller portions and freeze the rest. • Jumbo packs and portions of food sold at warehouse clubs may be a bargain when the kids are home for break, but can spoil or expire when they are at college. If you still want to enjoy the savings, ask other empty nester friends if they are interested in sharing the items and splitting the cost. • Now is the perfect time to try new recipes or foods you never brought home because the kids hated them. • Finally, remember the fancy restaurants you avoided because of finicky eaters? Make a reservation now!